The wandering of the heart in the spacious field of aliens is called fikr (contemplation).
All makhluqaat (created objects) – everything besides Khaaliq (The Creator) are termed aliens (aghyaar). All creation from the heaven to the earth has been portrayed or compared to spacious fields. The reality of fikr is the wandering of the heart in these spacious fields.
Wandering in these fields, in this context, means to contemplate the wonderful manifestations of Allah’s power (Qudrat) which reveals itself perpetually, at every moment, in His creation. Some are born while others die; some are poor while others are wealthy. There are innumerable marvels in His creation inhabiting the heavens and the earth. Man is required to derive lesson from these marvellous objects of creation and contemplate on Allah’s attributes of Beauty, Excellence and Splendour.
This contemplation will lead him to Khaaliq Ta’ala. He will firmly believe that his Creator is Most Wise, Most Gracious, Most Majestic and Most Splendid. This is the type of fikr which we are commanded to observe. We have been forbidden to contemplate on the Thaat (Being) of Khaaliq because our minds being finite cannot comprehend the Infinite, Eternal Thaat. In such contemplation lurks the danger of renouncing the Deen. We seek Allah’s protection. Belief in the Creator should be confined to the limits indicated to us.
Further, one should contemplate on obedience and sin – that for a certain act of obedience there is a particular thawaab and for a sin there is a certain degree of punishment.
Also, contemplate on the bounties of Allah. His bounties are innumerable and He is the true Benefactor.
Contemplate on the perishable nature of the world and its objects. These various types of fikr are praiseworthy and we have been instructed to observe them.
Fikr is the lamp of the heart. In its absence, the heart will be without light.
Fikr which has been explained, is for the heart like a lamp. Minus fikr, the heart resembles a dark room in which there is no lamp. One does not know what lurks in that dark room in which nothing is visible. Similarly, without contemplation the reality and true nature of an object will not be fathomed.
When man contemplates, the inner nature and reality of things will be revealed to him. He will see with open eyes (i.e. his spiritual eyes) the realities of Truth, Falsehood, the perishable nature of the world and the everlasting nature of the Hereafter. The Glory, Splendour, Power and Wrath of Allah, as well as Him being the True Benefactor will become vivid realities. Man will also become aware of his own hidden defects, the schemes and deceptions of his nafs and that the world is the abode of futility and deception.
If the bandah refrains from fikr, his heart will become like a dark room. He will then be unable to differentiate the various things.
There are two kinds of fikr. The fikr of Tasdeeq and Imaan, and the fikr of Mushaahadah and A’yaan. The first kind is for the Saalikeen and the second kind is for the people of Mushaahadah and Mu-aayanah, i.e. for the Majzubs.
The select servants of Allah are of two kinds – the Saalik and the Majzub. The one who logically deducts the cause from the effects is a Saalik. He contemplates on the effects and arrives at the knowledge of the cause. His heart initially wanders in the objects of Divine Creation. From this contemplation he reaches the way to the Divine Attributes. For example, he sees people transgressing without Allah Ta’ala punishing them. From this he concludes that Allah’s attribute is Hilm (to refrain from punishing despite having the power). From the beauty, excellence and perfection of objects, he infers that Allah is All-Wise.
By means of prolonged contemplation on the Names and Attributes of Allah, the heart finally discovers the way leading to the Divine Thaat. Thus, by contemplating on the effects, he ultimately reaches the Cause – Allah Ta’ala.
On the other hand, the one who concludes the effects by contemplating on the Cause, is a Majzub. Initially, his heart becomes imbued with the Mushaahadah of the Thaat. He then dwells in the Names and Attributes of Allah. Finally, he enters into the contemplation of Makhluqaat.
Thus, while the Saalik is taken from the bottom to the top, the Majz م b is brought down from the top to the bottom. This is the state of those whose perfection Allah Ta’ala desires. Some Majzubs remain in the state of Jazb while some Saaliks remain suspended without attaining accomplishment. (In the state of Jazb the intellect is overwhelmed by Divine Love, hence the Majzub is not liable for the execution of the Shariah’s obligations which are waived for him. – Translator)
The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says that there are two kinds of fikr. The first is known as the fikr of Tasdeeq and Imaan. This is the contemplation which is not the result of physical observation. Its basis is only Imaan.
The second kind of fikr is known as Muaa-yanah and Mushaahadah. In the first kind contemplation the Saalikeen reach Allah by their contemplative study of His created objects. They utilise their physical senses in the observation and contemplation of creation to conclude the greatness of the Creator. The aim of this fikr is the Mushaahadah (Perception) of the Pure Thaat of Allah Ta’ala. Its motivating force is not only Imaan. Its progression is not from the Creator to the creation, but from the creation to the Creator. Thus, the focus of his heart’s gaze is initially on creation and ultimately on the Creator.
On the other hand, the knowledge possessed by the Majzub dictates to him the necessity of the existence of creation on account of the existence the Creator. The focus of his heart is initially on the Creator, later reaching creation. For this reason the Saalik is one whose senses and intellect are intact whereas the Majzu b generally acts in conflict with intelligence.
It should be understood that the knowledge derived from contemplation is inspirational. It is a bestowal of Allah Ta’ala. It is not acquired by one’s efforts.